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Very kind client…until I deliver the work (update: work has been stolen)

I just had an order that was on it’s sixth day with a time limit of seven. This client that I was working with was very positive and kind towards me…up until the point when I delivered the work. This particular work was a website design. With this job, I was given a google-doc that had all of their requests for the design. I compiled all the information and created a desktop and mobile design with additional high quality mockups. Throughout this, I stuck closely to their guidelines but made a few design choices (which is usually what you get when you hire a designer who knows the industry). For example:

  • I added a background with a neutral grey as every single colour that they had in their palette was not suitable for a background because they clashed with the images and other elements they had chosen. This was simply a design choice.

  • I added the title “About Us” to a section that had text content starting with: “We are a…” (which is clearly an about us section). I had my head ripped off for creating an “About Us” section and their argument was:

  • “Why did you add About Us? That is absolutely not an About Us section.”

  • My favourite example is when in the specifications (with regards to a graphic on the reference design they gave me) they stated:

  • “Please remove the current graphic from First Text Section. That graphic is not going to work for a variety of reasons. We would like to see some typography with those words but the current graphic should be deleted.”

  • Now, not being a graphic designer, but a web designer I just typed out the content of the text graphic as a placeholder value. Then they come back to me saying “you didn’t add a new graphic” to which I simply responded “I am not a graphic designer, the text that I added is simply a placeholder. If you would like a new graphic, please hire a graphic designer”.

There are a couple more examples but in general this client was completely unreasonable. My price for this gig was ** $40 **. I know for a fact that one is hard-pressed to find a quality web designer for that price. When comparing my design that I created to the “reference design” that they created themselves; it is ** extremely ** clear that my design was _ at least _ 10 times as good. It was at this point that I had a feeling I was getting scammed. I confronted the client when she requested a cancellation. These are my words:

  • “I believe this cancellation request is unreasonable. My prices are more than fair and you will be hard-pressed to find a designer who will do quality work at such a low price. I created a very sophisticated design compared to the examples that you already had from previous designers and your own team. I am worried that if we cancel, you are going to take my work anyways. If we choose to cancel this order, I will deny any rights for you to use any of my work.”

Now after having declined her request to cancel she started saying that if she showed up to her meeting with my design she would be laughed at… Couple this with about 20 “rofl” faces and you get my experience. This very high level of unprofessionalism and the sudden change in attitude (from pleasant to rude) led me to believe whole-heartedly that I was being scammed. I cancelled the order and told them that they have no right to use any of my work.

Had an order with a client who I believe was trying to scam me. Signs of scamming were shown through the clients unprofessionalism (use of ‘rofl’ emojis) and disrespectful attitude. Of course, this attitude only showed after I had delivered the work. The gig was a web design priced at $40. The work I did was at least ten times better than the example they had given me (a cute little web design done by their team). For $40 dollars, this client was completely unreasonable and was definitely a scammer. The order has been cancelled and I have informed the client that they have no right to use any of my work.

For stolen update see this comment.


I have informed the client that they have no right to use any of my work.

Good on you. Sorry you had such a terrible experience. Nasty buyer.

Also, I’m curious: How do web designers keep buyers from using their work after cancellations?

Well, you can’t really. However I am going to keep a look out to see if they use any of my work. If they do, I’ll seek legal advice / action.

I have been browsing the forums just now though, and one of the suggestions is let the buyer pay first, then deliver… I guess i’ll be doing that from now on.


I don’t understand that suggestion. Aren’t buyers supposed to pay first?

For me, what i do is host the website on netlify or github - mostly netlify, then i ask them to check out the page and get back to me on possible corrections before i deliever all the files.

Problem is it wasn’t a front-end gig. Just a design.

Small update post:

I still have access to the google drive and I found a new design in the folder! This was posted at 3:00pm today and I sent the work at 10:00 last night.

Looks like they changed their mind on their hero section (hmmm I wonder where they got that idea from). Oh, now they have an “About Us” section (I wonder where they got that idea from). They have an actual contact form instead of a simple email link (need I say it again?). Their cards are looking very similar to the one’s that I created (saying it one more time). They also…dundundun…changed the background colour! WOW, love to see it.

Just had my work stolen from me…I must say they did a good job of disguising it. Feels really hurtful though.

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

― Oscar Wilde

I realise this wont put food in your belly, but maybe, it’ll reduce the sting slightly.

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Cheers to you! That helps <3

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I noticed you mentioned working with this client on Google Doc so i feel you might be able to assist with my dilemma.

I have a client who wants to share a document with Google Doc comments with me so that i can effect some necessary changes. Is there a way to do this without sharing my email with them? If not, how can i do this without getting flagged by Fiverr for violating the TOS regarding not sharing emails with clients?

I’d appreciate your response. Thanks!

Send an email to to have them send a takedown notice to the buyer, since they stole your work after the cancelation.

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